Project Summaries

04-543TX  Project Manager: E. M. Barnes


Calvin B. Parnell, Jr., and Mark T. Hamann, Texas AgriLife Research

There are currently two main types of machinery used for harvesting cotton in the United States: cotton pickers and cotton strippers with or without field cleaners. These different machine types package seed cotton with varying amounts of burrs, sticks, and leaves. Harvested cotton is placed in modules for storage prior to ginning. Recent developments from industry include on-board module builders that package seed cotton as they harvest. This leads to three methods of storage: traditional seed cotton modules, as well as half- and round modules utilized by harvesters with on-board module builders, all of which have different levels of packaging density.

Cotton is harvested under widely varying conditions throughout the country and the moisture content of seed cotton at the point of containerization can be an important factor in the final quality of the crop. Seed cotton is being stored for increasing periods of time before being processed by cotton gins.

The number of cotton gins in the U.S. has decreased while the production of cotton has increased. All cotton is harvested as it matures and the harvesting rate greatly exceeds the ginning rate. As a consequence of fewer gins, increased harvesting rates and quantities of cotton, the storage time of seed cotton prior to ginning has increased.

It was hypothesized that the impacts of varying densities, varying trash contents, and increased storage times prior to ginning was impacting the quality of the cotton lint and seed. The goal of this research was to quantify the impacts of these factors.

The purpose of this research was to evaluate the effects of packaging seed cotton from any of the three different harvesting methods into varying storage as a function of differing moisture content and increased storage time. Results are indicated in terms of quality of both the fiber and seed of ginned samples, as well as how the quality changes affect the value of the processed cotton.

The results of this research indicate that density does not affect the final quality of the lint and seed harvested. Increased moisture contents have a negative effect on both the quality and the value of the seed cotton, and this effect becomes more pronounced as the length of storage increases.

Note a majority of the work for this project was completed in 2011 and efforts in 2012 were limited to final data analysis and publication of the results.


Project Year: 2012

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